Remembering Ray

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:39

Police Department bids fond farewell to one of its own Sparta — “It is with deep regret and sadness that the Sparta Township Police Department announces the loss of a great man,” the group posted on their Facebook page after the passing of Cpl. Raymond Mueller on Saturday, Nov. 26. It wasn’t long before the comment thread contained over 100 posts. Facebook users ranging from Mueller’s family members to members of the community, posted their condolences, reflections, and offers of support. Mueller, who started with the police department in January 1996, was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2010, During his struggle with the disease, he retired to South Carolina, where he lost his battle at the age of 50. He leaves behind wife Kathleen, sons Tyler and Max, parents Max and Catherine of Hardyston, siblings Lynn and Robert, sister-in-law Janice, and nephew Michael. (See related obituary on page 21) Mueller’s circle was far reaching because of his diverse training and volunteer interests. Mueller hailed from Oak Ridge, graduated from West Milford High School in 1980, and the Lincoln Technical Institute in 1981, with a degree in automotive/diesel technology. Prior to his start with the police department, Mueller worked for Sparta Township’s Public Works Department as a mechanic. He incorporated his specialized background an ASE-certified mechanic with his work as a police officer. “Ray was probably one of our most highly trained officers. He had a tremendous aptitude to learn, and guys would go to him with questions or advice,” said Sgt. John Paul Beebe. Mueller served on Beebe’s squad for seven years. Mueller was also an Emergency Medical Technician, NASDS Certified advanced scuba diver, and held state certifications in radar and breathalyzer operations. His resume spans numerous areas of study, from training as a pepper spray and firearms instructor to dug interdiction. But it was his expertise in traffic safety as a forensic mechanic and accident reconstructionist for which he was most often sought. Mueller was a member of the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office Crash Analysis and Reconstruction Team and worked as an expert for John Desch Associates in Riverdale, an accident reconstruction firm. The Newark Police Department additionally called on Mueller just prior to his retirement, because of his skills. Beebe said Mueller was not the type of person who sought honors, despite his many accolades, though he did receive a departmental award for rescuing a victim with serious injuries during a boating accident on Lake Mohawk. “He was a funny guy to work with, he was a very talented individual, but a very real person,” Beebe added. “He was a good friend to everyone here,” Rozek said, and noted Mueller had a heart to help everyone, including a 90-year old neighbor who he checked in on daily.